Old Vic Theatre replaces single-sex toilets with inclusive facilities for all genders

'We set out to make changes to The Old Vic that were reflective of the needs of today’s audiences and our local community'

Olivia Petter
Wednesday 02 October 2019 13:29 BST
(Getty Images)

The Old Vic theatre in London is the latest establishment to scrap single-sex toilets in favour of more inclusive alternatives.

As part of a major refurbishment, the 201-year-old theatre has replaced signs on male and female lavatories with pictures of cubicles or urinals.

The brand new facilities have been installed to allow “people to make their own decision about which loo is suitable for them,” the theatre has said.

The theatre has doubled its number of toilet cubicles, which were formerly women’s facilities, in the hope that this may address the industry-wide problem whereby queues for women’s toilets are far longer than those for men.

There will also be two “roomier” toilets designed to accommodate pregnant women or those with young children.

The move comes after the Old Vic announced it would be increasing the number of women's toilets in 2018, prompting criticisms that it should be introducing unisex toilets instead.

Speaking about the changes, Kate Varah, executive director at the Old Vic said: “We set out to make changes to The Old Vic that were reflective of the needs of today’s audiences and our local community.”

The amount of gender-neutral toilets in the UK have been steadily increasing in recent years.

In May, Wagamama announced its plans to install gender-neutral bathrooms in celebration of this year’s inaugural London Transgender Pride.

The Asian-inspired chain restaurant said that at least 40 per cent of its UK branches would install the unisex toilets to help customers see it as a “welcoming space regardless of gender or sexuality”.

Meanwhile, in 2017, Sadiq Khan announced plans to increase the number of gender-neutral toilets in London in order to make life easier for transgender and non-binary people who do not define themselves as either male or female.

The London mayor issued guidance stating that unisex toilets should be included in new commercial developments in the capital, including shopping centres, cinemas and sporting facilities

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